A good start at the Assembly but there are substantial risks ahead

In this issue we focus on what needs to be done to protect the Assembly from yet another collapse. The contribution from the Constitution Unit at University College London sets out what can be done to give all the parties greater power to diminish the ability of the DUP and Sinn Féin to pull the institutions down on their own.

One notable reason for hope is that MLAs in the Assembly seem more committed to making it work than the DUP MPs at Westminster who are more concerned about the constitutional purities than dealing with the day to day issues of sharing out what money there is to repair the long standing gaps in social and healthcare and all other demands for investment.

From the point of view of Sinn Féin the main danger may be their longer term aspiration for unification and full membership of the European Union.

A smaller risk, noted by several contributors, is the prospect of using the ‘Stormont Brake’ to thwart sensible European measures on the environment and climate change. But Colin Murray has quietly explained that the statutory instrument passed recently in effect reserves to the Westminster Government the final say on any brake passed by the Assembly.

The contribution from Sir Declan Morgan sets out his hopes that the new Legacy Commission will be able do a good job on truth recovery, though the recent High Court judgment seems to rule out any form of conditional amnesty – perhaps the Supreme Court and the Strasbourg court will be able to produce a more nuanced position that will allow and encourage perpetrators on all sides to come forward with their accounts of what actually happened, with appropriate acknowledgement and apologies.

View Issue 493

Issue contents

Politics

Paddy Hillyard Safeguarding the Union or unravelling the peace? Colin Murray Implementing the Windsor Framework Legal and practical issues Katy Hayward The Irish Sea Border Waving the rules? Blair Horan Trade impacts of the Protocol and ‘Safeguarding the Union’ Conor J. Kelly and Alan Whysall The restoration of Stormont and the need for reform Eoghan Kelly What now for the DUP? Looking to the next general election Sir Declan Morgan ‘Why I agreed to head the Troubles legacy body’ Tom Hadden Why accepting a conditional amnesty would be good idea Stephen Collins All change in Dublin

Arts

Amy Elkheart Tackling Northern Ireland identities writing and community Mícheál McCann The threshold between love and elegy Seán Óg Ó Murchú Dlúthpháirtíocht (jloo-far-chee-uct) -Solidarity Maureen Boyle Bebe Ashley Portrait of an artist Bebe Ashley Extract from Wordsign

Reviews

Anne Devlin Martin Doyle’s Memoir Dirty Linen Marianne Elliott Feargal Cochrane’s Belfast Martyn Tyrell Csilla Toldy’s Bed Table Door Brice Dickson Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc’s The Disappeared Rosemary Jenkinson Eamonn Maillie’s Eyewitness